This morning the Committee on Climate Change published its annual progress report, issuing an urgent call for government to fill policy gaps within the Clean Growth Strategy necessary for the UK to meet its binding fourth and fifth carbon budgets.
The renewables lobby has responded strongly to the new report, echoing many of the committee’s – and Lord Deben’s – comments.
Chris Hewett, chief executive, Solar Trade Association:
"For three years now the Committee on Climate Change has been urging the government to get behind the most popular and cheapest renewables. With investment in renewables dropping alarmingly and the UK off track on its carbon budgets, the government must now surely listen & act.
“There is no justification for holding back solar in the UK. Not only is solar the British public's favourite energy technology, rooftop solar on businesses and factories doesn't even need any public subsidy. All it needs is for government to reverse recent nonsensical taxes and to urgently clarify the policy framework for local renewables going forwards. The same applies to large-scale solar. Again, all government needs to do is provide access to long-term contracts for the development of solar farms which can be delivered effectively without subsidy from the consumer.
“A failure to promptly remove self-defeating barriers to solar power will leave the UK falling even further on behind in what is already the biggest clean energy market in the world."
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive, UK Green Building Council:
“The CCC’s report highlights another worrying increase in emissions from buildings over the last year. Eight months after the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy was published, the Committee is also right to point to a lack of concrete policies to deliver the emissions reductions in buildings that the Strategy promised. This must be urgently remedied.
“UKGBC is calling on the Government to set out a pathway to make all new buildings genuinely net-zero carbon by 2030; to put in place effective incentives for home energy efficiency, particularly for able-to-pay homeowners; and to introduce incentives and mandatory operational energy ratings to drive business energy efficiency.
“The CCC highlights how clear goals and well-designed policies have delivered huge emissions reductions in the power sector. The Government must now demonstrate equal determination to drive down emissions from buildings – the most cost-effective way of tackling climate change. Clear and consistent policy will not just be good for the environment – it will spur much-needed investment and innovation in the construction and property industry.”
Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager, Scottish Renewables:
"This is a stark warning from the independent advisory body that the UK government is unnecessarily increasing the cost of tackling climate change by preventing the cheapest technologies, like onshore wind and solar, from competing in the electricity market.
"Enabling parts of the UK, and particularly Scotland, to deploy more onshore wind could provide a net payback to consumers of £1.6 billion and create 8,500 new long-term jobs.
"The report also warns that in other areas, like heat and transport, the UK government has too few policies with too little ambition and that, as a result, the UK is off-track to hit its future emissions targets.
"Low-carbon sectors need long-term clarity on future policy if they are to continue to deliver economic and environmental benefits across the UK."
James Court, head of policy and external affairs, the Renewable Energy Association:
“With reports emerging that taking action on electric vehicles and charge infrastructure is good for the economy, and with the Committee on Climate Change highlighting that we need to do more to meet our carbon commitments, it’s clear that there is more the government needs to be doing to position the UK as a transport leader.
“Building a viable charging network is crucial to encouraging EV uptake and, in turn, to achieving our Industrial Strategy goals of being a global leader in battery manufacturing. This means upgrading wiring in new homes, giving tenants greater power to install charge points, and expediting the process of developing charging hubs along the motorway.”
Richard Black, director, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit:
“As expected, the CCC emphasises once again the fact that current policies will not meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets.
“The Committee said in January that ministers need to close that policy gap by the end of the year – and halfway through it, government has not enacted any new low-carbon measures. Its report is remarkably explicit in advising reliance on simple, proven, low-cost options, including cutting energy waste and re-booting onshore wind power, while also tackling sectors such as transport where emissions are not coming down.
“As the Climate Change Act celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, the CCC is effectively recommending the very things that have made the Act such a success – consistent policymaking, which provides certainty to businesses, driving decarbonisation at the lowest possible cost. And really its prescription is very simple: ‘more of the same, and quickly’.”